Buying Equipment in Australia
The Independent Living Centre has an extensive index of equipment and suppliers in Australia. The Independent Living Centre in Perth also has some equipment on display so that you can go in and try before you buy, you will need to call ahead to make an appointment (tel:1300 885 886). It is also possible to hire equipment to make sure that it suits your needs. Equipment for hire includes:
- Communication – voice output, general communication
- Technology – keyboards, mice, trackballs, software, switches
- Pressure Management – cushions, mattresses, mattress overlays, heel protectors
- Hygiene – shower benches / commodes
- Manual Handling – mobile and standing hoist
- Standing and Walking – standing frames, walkers, tilt-tables
- Transport – wheelchair carrier, car transfer equipment
There are no restrictions on who can use the independent living centre, but the support of a relevant health professional may be required when hiring some types of equipment. Hire fees currently range between $15 – $250 for a 4 week period. Additional charges apply for courier/postage fees, and for repair or replacement of damaged or lost goods.
When you have decided which equipment you wish to buy it is worth checking prices with interstate suppliers as well, sometimes it is cheaper to purchase interstate even with postage charges.
Buying Equipment Overseas
Most medical aids and appliances are duty and GST exempt (www.ato.gov.au) and they can often be purchased overseas cheaper than in Australia. Delivery times are also frequently faster than for items ordered in Australia. Some companies will not ship to Australia if there is a representative here, but purchases can still be made through friends overseas or using a freight forwarding company.
Second hand Equipment
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia has advertisements for second hand equipment (https://scia.org.au/living-with-a-disability/accessibility-and-your-environment/equipment-and-assistive-technology/) and a list of other possible sources.
Refurbished equipment is also available from Rocky Bay in Perth (http://www.rockybay.org.au/stage/refurbished-equipment-6/). Refurbished equipment is also available from Rocky Bay in Perth (http://www.rockybay.org.au/service/refurbished-equipment/). You can browse their range of refurbished equipment through their online shop or visit the warehouse between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday at 2/32 Horus Bend, Bibra Lake.
Tel (08) 9494 2243 Email email@example.com
When you are first admitted to the State Rehabilitation Service at Fiona Stanley Hospital you will be issued with a temporary wheelchair to assist in the rehabilitation process while you are in hospital. A permanent loan wheelchair is not specified until towards the end of the rehabilitation program. Sometimes this means you will have been discharged before the permanent loan wheelchair is provided. If you are discharged before you have a permanent chair make sure you keep in contact with the Rehabilitation Engineering Clinic as they may delay you getting a trial chair as it easier for them to deal with patients that are still on ward. If you purchase your own wheelchair you will not be entitled to another wheelchair funded by SRS.
Wheelchairs provided by FSH are only funded to basic and essential criteria to meet the person’s needs. You can opt for a more expensive wheelchair or non essential options on a wheelchair but you will need to fund the extra cost. Sometimes SCI patients use a grant from Para Quad or Better Life Foundation to top up the wheelchair funding.
Patients who are entitled to compensation (e.g. MVIT / Workers Compensation) for their SCI will need to have their equipment funded by the compensation funds. DVA eligible patients will be provided equipment as per the DVA Equipment funding program. Only those patients who are considered eligible admitted patients will have their first wheelchair funded by RPH.
Eligibility for a Replacement Wheelchair
Government funded wheelchairs are usually recommended for replacement when they are no longer economically viable to continue servicing, or if the person’s clinical needs have changed and a different wheelchair is required to meet those needs. There is no set time limit on this.
The funding for this will depend on whether the person is
- CAEP eligible
- Received compensation for the reason why the wheelchair needs to be changed
- Has been admitted back to a public hospital for the reason why the wheelchair needs to change
The RAC have a new membership called ‘Wheels2go’ which offers roadside assistance for manual and electric wheelchairs. They do not carry spare parts for wheelchairs, so you need to have a spare tyre/tube and access to a spare usable battery. If the RAC cannot get you mobile again they will arrange a taxi for you. The membership entitles you to 5 taxi trips a year at up to $55 per trip. Membership is $45/year.
Rehabilitation Engineering Clinic
Rehabilitation Engineering only funds the maintenance of FSH hospital funded wheelchairs for a period of 3 months from the date the permanent loan wheelchair is issued. After the first 3 months if you are CAEP eligible (more information here) you should get a referral from your GP to your local health service for the local health service to commence funding repairs and maintenance. Compensable patients need to fund and arrange all maintenance and repairs.
Patients who did not get compensation or who are not CAEP eligible will be considered for funding for repairs on a case by case basis and in this circumstance repairs are only done for the useable life of the wheelchair (WA Health Operational Directive OD 0353/11 – page 13). Please contact rehabilitation engineering for more information.
Unicare Health, Bentley (previously known as River Abilities) can send a technician to your home to perform repairs. Visit their website https://www.unicarehealth.com.au/support/repairs/ or call 1800 656 654 for more information. They will also provide hire equipment free of charge while repairs are being carried out if necessary. Unicare Health have components for most rehab equipment products, including shower trolleys, commodes, electric beds, wheelchairs, walkers, patient hoists, powered wheelchairs & scooters, pressure care mattresses and lift-recline chairs
Australian Mobility Equipment, Malaga (http://amemobility.com.au, (08) 9249 7483) also offers a mobile repair service and can arrange for equipment to be collected and delivered to their workshop if necessary.
Tim Miller, Kalgoorlie. Tim operates a mobile repair service for manual and electric wheelchairs. Tel 0408 978 354, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Calibre Care, Albany (previously known as River Abilities) have a wheelchair repair service. Tel: (08) 9841 4200.
Mandurah Mobility, Mandurah have a pick up and delivery service for wheelchair repairs, a service representative can also come to you if necessary. Tel: (08) 9535 1211, http://www.mandurahmobility.com.au.
Guy’s Mobile Wheelchair Service, Yangebup. Tel: 0410 480 481, email: email@example.com
Rod Wyatt, Diverse Mobility, Bassendean. Tel: 0439 970 872, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several organisations which can modify equipment for your specific requirements. Costs and funding for modifications should be discussed with the service provider before they start on your project.
RAM Wheelchairs build custom-made manual wheelchairs and can also modify existing wheelchairs to your specific requirements. Please contact Matt (Tel: (08) 9331 2000, http://www.ramwheelchairs.com.au ) for further information.
TADWA (Technology Assisting Disability WA)
TADWA is a not for profit organisation which provides a range of services including modifying existing equipment and the design and building of customised aids. Projects include customised bikes and trikes, seating and upholstery and beach wheelchairs. Please visit the website http://tadwa.org.au or Tel: 1 300 663 243 for more information.
Dreamfit Foundation is a not for profit organisation that focuses on providing equipment solutions that are not readily available, such as sourcing specialised equipment from overseas or custom designing and building equipment from the ground up. Projects include motorised art easels, customised photography equipment, clip on handcycle and wheelchair segway. For more information visit the website http://www.dreamfit.com.au or Email: email@example.com. Please click here to see a video presentation by Darren Loman (CEO of Dreamfit) discussing some of the projects they have been involved with.
- Independent Living Centre WA, http://ilc.com.au/services/ilc-hire/, tel: 1 300 885 886. ILC Hire is an equipment hire service that specialises in short-term hire of equipment for people with disabilities throughout the State. It aims to provide an opportunity to trial equipment before purchase to ensure that it is suitable, to assist people whose rapidly changing needs make equipment purchase impractical, and to meet short term needs such as post surgery or whilst equipment is being repaired or delivered.
- Daily Living Products – https://www.daily.com.au/hire-info, tel: 1 300 364 460. Equipment hire includes bedroom equipment, toilet and shower equipment, hoists, and electric wheelchairs/scooters. Equipment is available in Metropolitan areas only, delivery can be arranged.
- HospEquip, http://hospequip.com.au/service-hire, tel: 9456 1661. Equipment for hire includes beds, pressure relief mattresses and shower/toilet equipment. Equipment is available in Metropolitan areas, with delivery to Mandurah and Bunbury on specified days.
- Metro Mobility, http://www.metromobility.com.au/mobility-equipment-hire-perth, tel: 9258 8733. Has manual and electric wheelchairs, electric beds, and bathroom aids available for hire in Metropolitan area only.
- MediHire and Sales, http://www.medihireandsales.com/hire/. Medihire & Sales have four stores, Balcatta (tel: 9240 6100), Guildford (tel: 9379 1555), Wembley (tel: 9387 3911) and Willetton (tel: 9354 3111) where a large range of products are displayed. Free parking is available at each store, and all stores are wheelchair accessible. Delivery can be arranged to both Metropolitan and Regional areas.
- All-Set Rentals, http://www.allsetrentals.com.au/wheelchairs, tel: 9379 7337. Have manual wheelchairs for hire in Metropolitan area only.
- Rentals-R-Us, http://www.rentalsrus.com.au/wheelchairs, tel: 9379 7375. Have manual wheelchairs for hire in Metropolitan area only.
- Gosnells Scooter & Mobility World, http://www.gosnellsscooters.com.au/, tel: 9398 2043. Have manual wheelchairs and bathroom aids available for hire in the Metropolitan area only.
Wheelchair accessible vehicle hire
- Hire Mobility, http://www.hiremobility.com.au/, tel: 9309 3011. Vehicles are capable of seating up to 8 people plus one wheelchair, or 5 people plus two wheelchairs, depending on the van available. A range of wheelchair accessible, automatic, air-conditioned vehicles are available including vans and buses, which can be driven with a car licence.
- Accessible Transit, http://www.accessibletransit.com.au/hire-vehicles.html, tel: 9256 3411. Toyota Hiace available for hire, allows for 7 passengers plus driver or 3 passengers plus driver with 2 wheelchair positions. The vehicles are fitted with a hydraulic hoist and restraint system for the wheelchair, all vehicles have automatic transmission.
Vehicles with hand controls
There are currently no vehicles available for hire in Perth with hand controls fitted.